In my mystery A Cut Above, Karnie worked in her family’s butcher shop. They were all close. But by the end of the book, her family’s expanded. She moved in with Matt, a single dad with a three-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. It might not have happened, except Chelsea took one look at Karnie, held up her arms, and begged for Karnie to hold her. Why? No one knew for sure. Maybe she wanted a woman in her life. Matt’s ex-wife, Renee, left when Chelsea was just six months old. Chelsea didn’t remember her, and when they finally DID meet, didn’t like her. The person she did like was Karnie.
In a lot of movies and stories, stepmothers are evil. Look at Cinderella and Snow White. In A Cut Above, Karnie falls in love with Matt’s kids, and they fall in love her. Even Matt’s Border Collie, Jolly, wants to keep her. But Matt and Karnie had known each other growing up. Matt thought of her as his best friend’s prickly, younger sister. Karnie saw Matt as a good-looking, football hero–someone girls threw themselves at–the guy who married the most popular cheerleader. But Matt’s kids made each of them think again. And this time, they liked what they saw.
In the Karnie mystery I’m working on now, Matt and Karnie are married, and Karnie’s adjusting to being a mom. She’s nuts about Jackson and Chelsea, and she’s selling her beloved bungalow and moving into Matt’s big farmhouse. The four of them still go to her mom and dad’s house every Sunday for supper, and her brother and his family are always there, too. For Karnie, becoming a stepmother is one of the best things that ever happened to her. She’s embracing it.